“On the atrocity scale,” I wrote on 11.19.12 “Bush’s badness dwarfed Benghazi-gate.” Any one with a moral compass and a cerebral cortex recognizes that, as scandalous as it is, Benghazi is small scale compared to the immoral, fraudulent invasion of Iraq, and the cost in blood and treasure George W. Bush wrought with that one.
It would be an entirely different matter if Republicans had the intellectual moxie to examine the human toll, for decades to come, of Obama’s “murder by multilateralism” in Libya. For that was what the invasion of Libya amounted to.
But they don’t. To the Republicans, Benghazi-gate amounts to no more that a “procedural mishap.” Namely, finding out “what happened? How did it happen? Who covered it up? And, above all, how do we return to doing what we did before IT happened. ‘IT’ being the Sept. 11 attack on the embassy in Libya that left Ambassador Chris Stevens and ‘three other,’ mostly faceless Americans dead.”
…ABC News has obtained 12 different versions of the talking points that show they were extensively edited as they evolved from the drafts first written entirely by the CIA to the final version distributed to Congress and to U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice before she appeared on five talk shows the Sunday after that attack.
White House emails reviewed by ABC News suggest the edits were made with extensive input from the State Department. The edits included requests from the State Department that references to the Al Qaeda-affiliated group Ansar al-Sharia be deleted as well references to CIA warnings about terrorist threats in Benghazi in the months preceding the attack. …
The bare-bones of Benghazi is laid out by STEPHEN F. HAYES of the neoconservative Weekly Standard:
….Within 24 hours of the attack, the U.S. government had intercepted communications between two al Qaeda-linked terrorists discussing the attacks in Benghazi. One of the jihadists, a member of Ansar al Sharia, reported to the other that he had participated in the assault on the U.S. diplomatic post. Solid evidence. And there was more. Later that same day, the CIA station chief in Libya had sent a memo back to Washington, reporting that eyewitnesses to the attack said the participants were known jihadists, with ties to al Qaeda.
Before circulating the talking points to administration policymakers in the early evening of Friday, September 14, CIA officials changed “Islamic extremists with ties to al Qaeda” to simply “Islamic extremists.” But elsewhere, they added new contextual references to radical Islamists. They noted that initial press reports pointed to Ansar al Sharia involvement and added a bullet point highlighting the fact that the agency had warned about another potential attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in the region. “On 10 September we warned of social media reports calling for a demonstration in front of the [Cairo] Embassy and that jihadists were threatening to break into the Embassy.” All told, the draft of the CIA talking points that was sent to top Obama administration officials that Friday evening included more than a half-dozen references to the enemy?—?al Qaeda, Ansar al Sharia, jihadists, Islamic extremists, and so on.
The version Petraeus received in his inbox Saturday, however, had none. The only remaining allusion to the bad guys noted that “extremists” might have participated in “violent demonstrations.”
In an email at 2:44 p.m. to Chip Walter, head of the CIA’s legislative affairs office, Petraeus expressed frustration at the new, scrubbed talking points, noting that they had been stripped of much of the content his agency had provided. Petraeus noted with evident disappointment that the policymakers had even taken out the line about the CIA’s warning on Cairo. The CIA director, long regarded as a team player, declined to pick a fight with the White House and seemed resigned to the propagation of the administration’s preferred narrative. The final decisions about what to tell the American people rest with the national security staff, he reminded Walter, and not with the CIA. …
As the always outspoken and interesting Michael Scheuer put it, not so long ago, “Barack Obama is a despicable man.”
Indeed. On par with George Bush.